Beneficial Parasitic Nematodes for Termites | Do they work?

Beneficial Parasitic Nematodes for Termites

Beneficial Parasitic Nematodes for Termites
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When it comes to getting rid of termites, the process is usually dominated by the administering of harsh chemicals. This process works well and is certainly the most popular and efficient, but natural remedies are becoming more and more popular.

Beneficial parasitic nematodes are likely not the first thing to come to mind for natural ways to eradicate termites, but they are certainly effective and 100% pesticide-free.

These tiny, microscopic worms pose no risk as a pest to humans and fulfill their task of devouring termites from the inside out. Nematodes are most commonly used in gardens, so there is some much-needed information necessary to understand how to spread and control them within the home for termite control.

In this guide, you will learn:
  • What beneficial parasitic nematodes are and how they are used
  • When to apply the nematodes and their method of action
  • The relationship between nematodes and termites
  • How long they live and how effective they truly are
  • Other types of insects affected by beneficial parasitic nematodes

What are Beneficial Parasitic Nematodes?

Nematodes are a tiny parasite in the form of a worm that feeds on and kills larger insects.

"Many parasitic nematodes have an environmental infective larval stage that engages in host seeking, a process whereby the infective larvae use sensory cues to search for hosts.” "

According to the National Center for Biotechnology

Beneficial nematodes use sensory input once they are placed in an area to seek out their prey by which they enter the insect’s internal anatomy through open orifices. Once inside of a host, the worms begin feeding on the host until death, by which the worms then use the host as a nest for a new colony.

These worms work very quickly to devour as many termites as possible, which is not difficult due to the vast amounts of nematodes that can be released in one application. When using nematodes for pest control, the process is wholly natural and represents an effective way to rid your home from termites by using nature as your main arsenal.

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Why Should You Use Nematodes for Termites?

Beneficial parasitic nematodes are a natural phenomenon for the control of destructive pests. There are no guarantees that termites will react to poisons used against them, but nematodes are living creatures that actively hunt termites to use as food and shelter.

Chemicals merely exist within a structure and require termites to interact with the substances to become effective. This isn’t the case for living nematodes. If enough nematodes are released within a termite colony, the worms will devour the entire colony without one single application of insecticide necessary.

When Should You Apply Beneficial Nematodes?

You will only want to apply nematodes if you are certain that some part of your house is infested with a termite colony. This can be represented by numerous warning signs, which if seen, usually means there is a termite colony thriving somewhere nearby.

Once you have confirmed the presence of termites, you can immediately purchase beneficial parasitic nematodes for immediate application. Searching for a good product that ensures nematode effectiveness can be a challenge due to a wide range of companies, but sometimes the simplest formulation is usually the best.

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Grub Busters Beneficial Nematodes by Nemaglobe ensures that over ten million active nematodes can be released to problem areas per one-pound bag. This product simply needs to be mixed with water for an easy application with a lawn and garden sprayer. This product requires no refrigeration and truly lives up to its moniker representing “the toughest nematodes on the planet.”

How Do Beneficial Nematodes Control and Kill Termites?

The mechanism of action of beneficial parasitic nematodes against termites involves the spreading of the nematodes to a termite-infested structure after application. The worms use their sense to track active termites by which they then begin to swarm a termite and enter their body through the termite’s mouth or other orifices.

Once inside, the nematodes begin feeding on the internal organs until the termite dies. Due to the massive number of nematodes released, an entire colony can become infested by the nematodes rapidly. It can take days or even a couple of weeks for the colony to die as long as enough nematodes are released to devour a large colony of termites.

Due to the small size of the nematodes, it is incredibly difficult for termite soldiers to fight against the worms. At some point, even the queen will be infested with parasitic nematodes. Once the queen dies, the colony falls.

Once the infested termites die, the nematodes will then use the carcass as a nesting spot for nematode reproduction.

How To Kill Termites with Nematodes

How Long Does it Take for Nematodes to be Effective?

Once nematodes are applied, they will begin devouring termites from the inside out immediately. When questioning time, this really depends on the size of the termite colony in question vs. the amount of nematodes applied.

Large termite colonies can range in populations from as little as 100,000 on the modest end, to upwards of 1 to 2 million termites on the high end. Grub Busters Beneficial Nematodes can contain upwards of one million nematodes, which if saturated to a complete colony, could very well see colony destruction within 24-48 hours.

There is no concrete way to fully know exactly how many termites are active within the home, therefore, all problem areas should be saturated with beneficial nematodes to ensure an equal ratio.

What’s the Best Way to Use Nematodes for Termites?

Beneficial parasitic nematodes are commonly used to control outdoor pests, but due to this particular species of nematode having no interest in human or animal parasitism, they can safely be applied indoors. The best way to apply them is to ensure that large amounts of nematodes are evenly spread into a structure housing a termite colony.

Nematodes are not affected by being mixed with water. This means that a mixture of nematodes can be applied to a lawn and garden sprayer with water for measured pliability. Using a sprayer, mix the desired amount of nematodes with half a gallon of water and begin saturating an infested structure with the mixture.

The nematodes will immediately begin to swarm the structure and sense out active termites. This application process is generally the best to use since it allows a large spreading of nematodes to an entire structure.

Be sure and apply the mixture to all termite infested structures. It is best to apply nematodes in the early morning or early evening hours to ensure that ambient temperatures are not too hot or cold, which could cause the nematodes to perish.

Can You Use Them in House Walls?

Beneficial parasitic nematodes come in many different varieties, but you should always ensure that you have purchased a variety that is specifically useful against termites. When assessing termites inside of walls, you will want to make sure you have an applicator that can spread a mixture into the areas where termites are dwelling.

Even if you miss hitting exact targets, the nematodes will seek out the termites as long as they are not spread too far away. Nematodes thrive in soil, which means once they are spread inside of a home, they will need to devour the termites quickly to avoid dying outside of their preferred habitat.

To ensure that the nematodes are killing all termites within an area, you may want to apply a new mixture each day, or, even to all areas of wood within your home just in case the termites have spread to other areas.

After about a week of daily applications into infested walls, the termite colony should be destroyed.

How Long Do Beneficial Nematodes for Termites Live for?

Nematodes used to destroy termites can live for a few weeks after the colony has been destroyed. It is important to remember that the interior of homes and the insides of wood is not their preferred home, therefore, the nematodes will likely not last long-term after the termite colony is destroyed, which is an efficient attribute as well.

More often than not, nematodes will usually die off in as little as a few days after the termites have been destroyed. They will begin to reproduce inside of termite carcasses, but the soil is a necessary part of the reproductive process, which means that a new generation will not have the proper incubation necessary to thrive.

The most important thing is that the nematodes will be thriving while they are devouring a termite colony. Peace of mind is assured after a termite colony is destroyed by the nematodes dying off due to a lack of food sources and unattractive living conditions.

Are There Any Problems with Using Them?

Nematodes are a very effective and safe natural way of eliminating termites from inside of a dwelling. No control method can be 100% assured in one application, therefore, it may be crucial to reapply nematodes to infested areas. As far as safety concerns, there are none to be had with nematodes.

There are certain species of nematodes that infect humans and animals, but the type of nematode approved for use in pest control does not do this. Additionally, the active nematode population will also die off not very long after they kill a termite colony.

Some problems that can arise from choosing to use beneficial parasitic nematodes are mostly related to the number of nematodes applied vs. the amount of termites present. This is why frequent applications of nematodes are necessary and all wood inside of a home should be treated to ensure that all termites are destroyed.

Can You Use Nematodes for Any Other Insects?

Beneficial nematodes are an amazing natural remedy due to their versatility in the wide variety of insects they can destroy. Termites are merely one type of pest that can meet its match with these tiny worms. Parasitic nematodes are nature’s way of maintaining checks and balances on out-of-control insect populations.

These tiny worms can be used against over 200 species of insects, many of which infest gardens and lawns. They are an amazing natural remedy against interior termites. Nematodes can infest and kill virtually any pest that commonly invades outdoor gardens and ornamentals. The mechanism of action is always the same and nematodes used outdoors can live for much longer than those used indoors against termites.

Are All Nematodes Beneficial?

Not all species of nematodes can be categorized within the beneficial sub-group. There are certain nematode species that can invade and infect animals and even human beings. When searching for nematodes to use against termites or any type of pest control endeavor, always ensure that the nematodes you purchase are beneficial.

This is easy since beneficial parasitic nematodes are the only type approved to be used in residential pest control. There are harmful types of nematodes, but the only kind you will likely ever encounter is the beneficial type, thankfully.

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In Summary

Beneficial parasitic nematodes are one of the best and most trusted natural remedies to use against termites. In fact, they are just as effective, if not more, than many traditional chemical measures used against termite colonies. Poison can only do so much if termites do not encounter it, but beneficial nematodes will actively hunt and destroy termites.

Their mechanism of action involves invading the interior anatomy of termites and subsequently poisoning and devouring the termite from the inside out. Once this process is finished, the nematodes will use the insect carcass as a reproductive sight.

The Application of nematodes is relatively simple and involves the mixture of water to a nematode to a nematode colony to aggregate a mixture for maximum spreading capacity. These tiny worms can live for as long as it takes to destroy a termite colony, and will generally die off quickly after a termite colony has been decimated.

Using beneficial parasitic nematodes is the most effective natural way to eliminate a termite infestation, and the process is generally inexpensive as well.

Reference

Gang, S., et al. (2016). Mechanisms of host seeking by parasitic nematodes.
Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4993646/.

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Mike Henderson
Mike Henderson

Mike is a pest control operator from New York with over 15 years experience dealing with a wide range of pests. He shares his knowledge on this blog and provides useful information to help you combat pests on your own.

For severe infestations and professional advice you can also request a free pest control quote here.

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